Azerbaijan GP: Fernando Alonso says F1 rivals ‘need to calm down a little bit’ after qualifying crashes

Fernando Alonso suggested that some of his F1 rivals needed to “calm down a little bit” after an Azerbaijan GP qualifying hour heavily disrupted by crashes.

The Alpine driver, who will start a season-best eighth on Sunday after a strong Baku weekend so far, believed some drivers were pushing too hard around the wall-lined street track.

“I think the people need to calm down a little bit and drive 98 per cent in a street circuit because if you crash and you start last in the race, maybe you don’t drive over your possibilities,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“Today we saw many people driving over the possibilities of their car or their abilities.”

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All three segments of qualifying produced red flags.

In Q1, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and then Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi crashed at Turn 15, consigning them both to unexpected back-row starts.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo then brought out the red flags in Q2, qualifying 13th, while the Q3 pole shootout was cut short ahead of the final runs when AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in finding the barriers at the same corner.

Two weeks after Charles Leclerc crashed at the end of qualifying in Monaco, staying on pole position, Alonso said: “It’s a little bit unfair probably that the people that crash repair the car and they start in that position [they qualified].

“All the other cars are in parc ferme until tomorrow in the race we cannot touch the car while they can change all the parts when they caused the red flag.

“Maybe one day we are in position and we take advantage of the rule.”

Alonso optimistic of ‘good points’ after strong qualy

On a brighter note, Alonso has enjoyed a productive weekend in Baku so far and outqualified team-mate Esteban Ocon for the first time since March’s season-opener in Bahrain.

Ninth on the Q3 timesheet ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas became eighth on the grid after Lando Norris received a three-place penalty.

“We have a good car; it has been good all weekend,” said Alonso, who had never previously made Q3 in three attempts at Baku.

“We have always been in the top 10 in every session and we felt comfortable. Here you can overtake if you have the pace, so we need to take care of the tyres – that will be the hot topic for tomorrow, I guess – but we are reasonably confident to take good points.”

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